Three Things to Avoid When Learning a New Language

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| Tips & Tricks

Do you sometimes feel like your language learning journey is a constant uphill battle? You are not alone. The Mauril team is here to help you avoid some of the roadblocks you might encounter along the way. Check out our top three behaviours to avoid when learning a language, followed by advice on what you should do instead. 

 

What to avoid: Relying too much on translation

What to do instead: Trust your intuition

What do you do when you’re reading or listening to something in your native language and come across a word that you’ve never seen before? Do you run straight to the dictionary? Probably not. You likely try to figure out the meaning by looking at the surrounding words or by searching for context cues. You can do the same things when learning a new language. 

Language experts encourage learners to focus on context and intuition, and avoid depending on translation software and tools. Words are only one way to find meaning when reading or hearing a new language. Gestures, situation, imagery and tone can go a long way to helping you understand. If you hear a word you don't know, instead of reaching for the dictionary, ask yourself how the word is used. Is it describing a person? Is it an action? If you’re reading, you can look to the other parts of the text for clues to help decipher the meaning.

 

What to avoid: Giving up when it gets tough 

What to do instead: Be patient and celebrate small victories

Learning a new language isn't always easy, but the results can be life-changing. There may be times when you feel like giving up, like midway through reading an article, while trying to watch a television show or even while using the Mauril app. It may feel tiring because you don’t understand everything. Take a deep breath, stretch, get a snack, but above all… keep going. 

The next time you feel like giving up, try adding a little variety to how and where you learn. Change location (e.g., a cafe, the library), change the resources you use (you could read a magazine, join a language meet-up or watch a movie) or change your study time (ask yourself: Are you more alert and productive in the morning or later in the evening?). The objective is to find new ways to optimize your learning experience and keep it interesting.

What’s more, when you begin to feel yourself wanting to give up, take note of the progress you’ve made so far. Have you recently learned a new word, understood a complex sentence or participated in a conversation in the language you are learning? Celebrate the small victories and remind yourself that many of them can lead to greater triumphs! 

 

What to avoid: Rushing through your language studies

What to do instead: Repeat and review for better retention

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. It’s normal to want to progress quickly through the language learning process, but learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint. 

If you try to do too much too fast, you might get overwhelmed and give up. And it's harder to get back on track after a long break. That's why it’s important to go at your own pace. If you’ve had a long or tiring day, it may be best to spend time revising instead of moving on to new material.

Don’t underestimate the value of repeating the same material. Repetition helps the learning sink in. Even though learners don't often think of it as a strategy, it is very helpful to re-do units, find other units in the app with the same theme, or review and practise vocabulary from units you've already seen. Revising will enhance retention and understanding. 

 

There are highs and lows when learning anything new, especially a language. The main thing to keep in mind is… you can do it! Don’t doubt your abilities. With a mixture of intuition, patience and practice, anyone is capable of learning a new language. Check out this article for other tips and tools on making the most of your experience on the Mauril app.

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